From ‘likable enough’ to lovefest, Obama to hail Clinton

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – It was long ago and far away when Barack Obama snippily remarked, “You’re likable enough, Hillary.” It’s a lovefest now.

Hillary Clinton formally captured the Democratic nomination and declared the glass ceiling keeping women from the presidency cracked and nearly shattered. Her husband, ex-President Bill Clinton closed the historic night with an expansive and passionate testimonial, offering a deeply personal – though sanitized – account of their relationship. It was a policy-driven ode to the “best darn change-maker I have ever met.”

Tonight, the current president is joining her party – for it is her party now – in making the case to the nation for electing the former first lady, senator and secretary of state as the first woman to occupy the Oval Office.

The Democrats’ standard-bearer at long last, Hillary Clinton was affirmed as the party’s nominee Tuesday night at a convention that appeared to be finding its stride after a disruptive opening at the hands of distraught Bernie Sanders supporters. The ritualistic roll call of the states that sealed her nomination proceeded without trouble inside the hall and Sanders himself stepped up in the name of unity to ask that her nomination be approved by acclamation.

The unhappiest among his followers filed out, occupied a media tent and staged a sit-in, some with tape on their mouths to signify their silencing by the party. “This was a four-day Hillary party, and we weren’t welcome,” said Liz Maratea, 31, of New Jersey. “We were treated like lepers.”

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Bill Clinton tells a love story to make his case for Hillary

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – There have been millions of words, decades of video and reams of commentary devoted to their story. It’s been dissected, defended and decried at kitchen tables and on cable news, in tabloids and classrooms.

But on Tuesday night, as millions of voters watched and with the political stakes as high as they’ve ever been, Bill Clinton tried to make sense of it all and make the case for his wife, the newly minted Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” he began.

The former president’s tenth address to a Democratic convention was by far his most personal, a 42-minute tour through wedding proposals and Halloween parties, the deaths of parents and movie marathons.

Perhaps their worst moments – the Monica Lewinsky scandal, impeachment and legal battles that followed – were conspicuously omitted.

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Japan police search home of suspect in stabbing spree

SAGAMIHARA, Japan (AP) – Japanese police on Wednesday searched the home of the suspect in a mass stabbing spree that left 19 people dead at a facility for the mentally disabled.

The suspect, 26-year-old Satoshi Uematsu, was transferred earlier in the day from a local police station to the prosecutor’s office in Yokohama.

The attacker left dead or injured nearly a third of the approximately 150 patients at the facility in a matter of 40 minutes early Tuesday, Kanagawa prefectural authorities said. The fire department said 25 were wounded, 20 of them seriously.

Uematsu turned himself into police about two hours after the pre-dawn attack in Sagamaihara, a city about 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of central Tokyo.

He had worked at the facility until February, when he delivered a letter to Parliament outlining a bloody plan to attack two facilities for the handicapped and saying all disabled people should be put to death.

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Witnesses say South Sudan soldiers raped dozens near UN camp

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) – South Sudanese government soldiers raped dozens of ethnic Nuer women and girls last week just outside a United Nations camp where they had sought protection from renewed fighting, and at least two died from their injuries, witnesses and civilian leaders said.

The rapes in the capital of Juba highlighted two persistent problems in the chaotic country engulfed by civil war: targeted ethnic violence and the reluctance by U.N. peacekeepers to protect civilians.

At least one assault occurred as peacekeepers watched, witnesses told The Associated Press during a visit to the camp.

On July 17, two armed soldiers in uniform dragged away a woman who was less than a few hundred meters (yards) from the U.N. camp’s western gate while armed peacekeepers on foot, in an armored vehicle and in a watchtower looked on. One witness estimated that 30 peacekeepers from Nepalese and Chinese battalions saw the incident.

“They were seeing it. Everyone was seeing it,” he said. “The woman was seriously screaming, quarreling and crying also, but there was no help. She was crying for help.” He and other witnesses interviewed insisted on speaking on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals by soldiers if identified.

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France’s religious leaders united after church attack

PARIS (AP) – France’s main religious leaders have sent a message of unity and solidarity following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande a day after two extremists attacked a Catholic church and slit the throat of an elderly priest.

Hollande was presiding over a defense council and cabinet meeting Wednesday after speaking with Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim and Jewish leaders.

On Tuesday, the attackers took hostages at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in the northwest region of Normandy, during morning Mass. After the priest was slain, both attackers, one a local man, were killed by police outside the church.

Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, called on Catholics to “overcome hatred that comes in their heart” and not to “enter the game” of the Islamic State group that “wants to set children of the same family upon each other.”

The rector of the main Paris mosque, Dalil Boubakeur, said France’s Muslims must push for better training of Muslim clerics and urged that reforming French Muslim institutions be put on the agenda, but without elaborating.

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California wildfire forces shutdown of famed Big Sur parks

BIG SUR, Calif. (AP) – California’s signature parks along the Big Sur coastline that draw thousands of daily visitors were closed Tuesday as one of the state’s two major wildfires threatened the scenic region at the height of the summer tourism season.

To the south, firefighters made progress containing a huge blaze in mountains outside Los Angeles, allowing authorities to let most of 20,000 people evacuated over the weekend to return home. In Wyoming, a large backcountry wildfire in the Shoshone National Forest put about 290 homes and guest ranches at risk.

The Big Sur fire threatened a long stretch of pristine, forested mountains hugging the coast and sent smoke billowing over the famed Pacific Coast Highway, which remained open with few if any flames visible to motorists but a risk that the blaze could reach beloved campgrounds, lodges and redwoods near the shore.

“It is folly to predict where this fire will go,” said California state parks spokesman Dennis Weber.

The Los Angeles-area fire has destroyed 18 homes since it started and authorities over the weekend discovered a burned body in a car identified Tuesday as a man who refused to be evacuated.

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Coast Guard: 46 people rescued from sinking boat off Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Two Good Samaritan vessels rescued 46 people Tuesday night who abandoned their sinking fishing boat in the Bering Sea off Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, the Coast Guard said.

There were no reports of any injuries as the crew members were transferred from life rafts to the merchant ships, in a fairly calm seas, Coast Guard Petty Officer Lauren Steenson said.

The ships then embarked on a 13-hour voyage to Adak, Alaska, a port in the Aleutians.

When the 220-foot Alaska Juris started taking on water Tuesday morning, all crew members donned survival suits and got into three rafts.

An emergency beacon alerted the Coast Guard to the sinking ship just after 11:30 a.m. Alaska Standard Time.

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Senator: Is Medicare drug plan vulnerable to exploitation?

WASHINGTON (AP) – A senior senator is examining whether Medicare’s prescription drug benefit is vulnerable to manipulation by pharmaceutical companies that set very high prices for medications.

In a letter Monday to Medicare’s top administrator, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said policymakers must ensure the Part D prescription program serving some 38 million beneficiaries “is free from exploitation,” and asked if it meets that test as currently structured.

Grassley acted after The Associated Press reported on Medicare data that show spending for high-cost drugs covered under the program’s “catastrophic” protection jumped by 85 percent in three years, from $27.7 billion in 2013 to $51.3 billion in 2015. The data include costs to taxpayers, insurers and beneficiaries, as compiled by Medicare’s number-crunching Office of the Actuary.

Catastrophic coverage kicks in after a beneficiary has spent $4,850 of their own money. At that point, taxpayers cover 80 percent of the cost of medications. The beneficiary’s share is limited to 5 percent, while insurers pick up the remaining 15 percent.

The congressional Medicare Payment Advisory Commission recently warned that spending on the prescription program is rising at an “unsustainable” rate, singling out pricey specialty drugs covered under Medicare’s catastrophic protection.

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Washington scientist launches effort to digitize all fish

SEATTLE (AP) – University of Washington biology professor Adam Summers no longer has to coax hospital staff to use their CT scanners so he can visualize the inner structures of sting ray and other fish.

Last fall, he installed a small computed tomography, or CT, scanner at the UW’s Friday Harbor Laboratories on San Juan Island in Washington state and launched an ambitious project to scan and digitize all of more than 25,000 species in the world.

The idea is to have one clearinghouse of CT scan data freely available to researchers anywhere to analyze the morphology, or structure, of particular species.

So far, he and others have digitized images of more than 500 species, from poachers to sculpins, from museum collections around the globe. He plans to add thousands more and has invited other scientists to use the CT scanner, or add their own scans to the open-access database.

“We have folks coming from all over the world to use this machine,” said Summers, who advised Pixar on how fish move for its hit animated films “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory” and is dubbed “fabulous fish guy” on the credits for “Nemo.”

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After the sprinters, Jamaica seeking track and field depth

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) – The most dominant runner at Jamaica’s national track and field championships this summer was not a superstar sprinter like Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake or Veronica Campbell-Brown.

It was Kemoy Campbell.

Meet the best distance runner in Jamaica – yet unlike Bolt, Blake and the sprint stars, he’s far from being a favorite for a medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics this summer. Campbell literally lapped the field at the national championships, winning the 5,000-meter run by 2 minutes over the second-place finisher. That’s an absurd margin for a big-time race, one that basically equates to someone prevailing in a 100-meter dash by 2 1/2 seconds.

Campbell has no competition in his homeland. Jamaica is an Olympic sprinting superpower, but when it comes to the rest of the track and field program the tiny nation is on shaky footing at best.

“When I come here to race, I’m racing by myself,” Campbell said, somewhat dejectedly.

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